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Loss Of Arm Strength

JwriterJJwriter Posts: 140
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Most recently (over the past 2 days) I have been experiencing an increased loss of strength in my left arm (nearly 75% of what's normal)...coinciding with unrelenting headache and an increased amount of neck and left shoulder blade pain. On 4/28, I had an ESI at C6/C7 and have had no improvement. The 2nd ESI is now scheduled for 5/19 with my PM Doc but I'm wondering if I shouldn't be waiting that long for some kind of intervention.

I'm normally not a complainer but this is getting bad, constant throbbing, deep/dull aching that my pain meds aren't really touching. I also am receiving PT twice a week and Chiropractic twice a week for the additional lumbar issues I have (failed back/laminectomy syndrome) and they do some massage work on my neck at the same time(there's herniated C6/C7 with bone spurs)...is that possibly making matters worse??

Thanks folks, I appreciate any advice you could offer.


  • This is just my humble opinion, but I think you probably need to talk to a spine surgeon. I also was losing the use of my left arm before my surgery and the neck and left shoulder pain you're describing sounds like muscle spasms (very common with cervical spine issues).

    Have you had an MRI? I doubt that the PT could be hurting you further, but I'm always sceptical of Chiro treatments with disc issues. The fact that you're losing use of your left arm points to some significant nerve impingement, and if it isn't taken care of, it could become permanent.

    Please note that I'm NOT A DOCTOR AND THESE ARE ONLY MY OPINIONS, but I do know about cervical disc symptoms.

    What has your doc said about this? Again, have you had an MRI? And lastly, has any doc told you to see a spine surgeon?

    Take care,
  • There is a very renowned Ortho Surgeon on staff at my pain management center that specializes in spines (having done over 3500 ACDF's) that I'll be seeing (with my PM Doc's referral) should the next scheduled ESI not work.

    Upon doing the 1st ESI on 4/28, my PM Doc told me that there's a good likely-hood that the disease process is further along than expected...after he tested the strength in my left arm and heard of the symptoms. What he doesn't yet know, is that there's now even more loss of strength and more associated pain. He said that if nothing else, the injections may serve to decrease inflammation, making any future surgery easier and perhaps more successful.

    I don't let the Chiro do ANY manipulations to my neck, only in the lumbar area but they do some massage and muscle stretching to my neck and shoulders. I just wonder if that might be riling things up though, somehow or someway.

    I think I'm going to be calling my PM Doc with the latest changes, perhaps he'll refer me to this Ortho Doc now versus waiting out another injection.

    Thanks again Cath, I appreciate it.

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  • I think your decision to talk with your doc about what's happening to your left arm is the right choice. I know someone who had absolutely to symptoms until he woke up one morning and his left arm didn't work at all. Of course, he went right to the doctor and was put on the fast track to surgery.

    In my case, I didn't start losing the strength in my left arm until after I had scheduled surgery, but by the time I had surgery a month later, it was really bad. I also had tennis-elbow type symptoms, as well - very sore muscles around and just below the elbow and it was very painful to keep my left arm bent.

    Anyway, I'm glad that you're going to press this further now. Nerves are never anything to mess with. If you make them mad, they won't come back.

    Be sure to keep us posted on what's happening with your docs and your symptoms.

  • Forgot to add that yes, I've had C-spine and L-spine MRI's done very recently...plus a plethora of x-rays of both areas.

    My PM Doc says there's 2 herniated C-spine discs, one severely and one moderately. Plus, there's bone spurs on the associated vertebrae...with bone-on-bone at C6/C7.

    In the lumbar area, there's a mild to moderate herniation at L4/L5, one level above where it's been fused in 1991. The fusion itself has held up, but there's a ton of scar tissue and arthritis in the lumbar/sacral fused region..which presses on nerves, etc. and feels very much (if not worse) than the issue that led to the fusion in the first place.
  • From what I understand from my crabby NS,they are more concerned with the weakness than the pain. I had progressive weakness over a 5 month period in my left arm. By the time I had a Dr evaluate this they had me in surgery right away. They would not gurantee the problem would get better,but that it wouldn't get worse.
    Glad to hear you are seeing a good surgeon. Sounds like he can give you the best advice about your problem.
    Good Luck,
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